Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Trump, Clinton and an Obituary to die for

Okay I have to admit that when I read this obituary, I was a tad bit jealous of Mary Anne Nolan.  Hardly a day goes by that I don't find myself sighing and wishing I could close my eyes and not wake up until 2017.  Of course things might be a whole lot worse by then!

What does this have to do with the purpose of this particular blog?  Nothing really, except to say that we live in some strange and difficult times.

And that is why I am so excited about the release of my new book, The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age. In some ways I believe this may be the most important book I've written, and it is definitely the most relevant.  
Here is what Stephen Maccia, author of Becoming a Healthy Church  and President of Leadership Transformations had to say about it:
Thank you, Tricia, for lovingly inviting us to take the sugar-filled pacifier called technology out of our mouths before it completely rots our roots and destroys our ability to chew, savor and swallow what our souls genuinely crave much more than our hyper-tech-saturated culture compels us to consume. Your masterful modernization of ancient spiritual practices will undoubtedly transform a digital revolution into a soulful renewal for all of your readers. 
 You can read more and see what Leonard Sweet and Gary Moon had to say about the book at!   
I am so passionate about this book that I am doing SOMETHING I'VE NEVER DONE BEFORE, which is to invite you to help me launch it so we can get it into the hands of as many people as possible.

I will be offering several incentives to those who sign up--like an exclusive look at my Five Day Digital Detox plan or my God-Focused Deep Breathing video, plus you'll get the first chapter emailed to you immediately!  And all you have to do is let your friends and family know about the book through email, personal contact or social media--and I'll help you with some resources to do so. 

And for all those who do the four simple things I ask, there will be a raffle with some amazing prizes to help you slow down and get some balance for the health of your soul. 

If you want more information or to find out about the great prizes, click here. Otherwise, just email me at and I'll get back to you!

Finally, in case you haven't already, you can preorder your book on Amazon here.

Friday, February 5, 2016


My first notebook on the Cross
It is hard to imagine that over two decades ago I embarked on my first meditative journey to the Cross with Jesus  in preparation for Easter.  If you've read my book, Contemplating the Cross, you may remember that what I thought would take a few weeks took almost a year and turned my life upside down.

I am amazed still, that year after year, the story of Christ crucified, with its disturbing depth and profound mystery, still fascinates, astounds, sobers and enthralls me.  The saga of the Cross indeed never gets old.

If you haven't ever set aside this season for meaningful contemplation on the Cross, or if it's been awhile, I want to invite, and indeed encourage you to embrace Lent wholeheartedly this year.  

And if you've ever journeyed with Jesus to the Cross, then you know how it changes you, so don't forget to begin again this Wednesday.

I wish I could post the devotionals from my book online as I've done in the past, but the publisher has not given me permission.  You can order the book by clicking here.  (While you're there you can pre-order my new book, The Wired Soul, which comes out in June--more on that later. )

Adding doodling to my meditations

Have a blessed Lenten season and may you know Christ and him crucified more deeply this year than ever. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015



READ: Luke 2:1-7, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53:3-11, Revelation 4:1-11  (Click here to read selections from the NIV).

Have you ever stopped to consider what really happened when the Almighty entered into the womb of a woman--when the Son of God became the Son of man--flesh and blood, bones and joints, muscle and sinew?  I love the picture Daniel Fuller paints in his book Unity of the Bible, where he describes the incarnation as a winding staircase stretching from the glory of heaven to the world of wretched misery.  

While Jesus' descent to earth to redeem humankind began long before the foundation of the world, our first glimpse is in the stable that reeked of animal dung and moldy straw, where a newborn babe lay shivering in the chill of night, vulnerable to some of the worst conditions this globe could offer.

To me, the most stunning thing about Christ's descent from glory was His choice to let go of His role in sharing equality with God.  Though he retained his deity in essence, He chose to give up His rights as God in experience, requiring Him to depend upon His heavenly Father for whatever power or wisdom or guidance He might need.  

What must it have been like for the all-sufficient Son of God to know that soon he would be at the mercy of weak and sinful human beings? Can you see Him there, standing on that staircase just before the Spirit placed Him in Mary's womb?  What kinds of thoughts went through His mind?  Surely it must have felt as if He were stepping into a swirling abyss.

From that manger in Bethlehem, Christ's descent from glory soon continued.  His parents became vagabonds, settling as strangers in a foreign land where their livelihood depended upon Egyptians who probably detested them.  Later Mary and Joseph would establish their family in Nazareth, a place of derision even among the Jews for its lack of any distinguishing mark.  As Jesus prepared for public ministry in the wilderness fast, the god of the world He'd come to save taunted Him for his fall from power, daring Him to reclaim his rights as the Almighty.  He refused, and the descent went on. 

For the next three years, the Son of Man sought to do his Father's will while sleeping in fields and hills, looking to benevolent women for financial support, seeking solace through prayer in the wee hours of His dark and lonely nights.  Scorned by heathens, rejected by the religious elite, living under constant threat of death, the drumbeat of descent pounded out its rhythm day after difficult day.

Down and down and down the winding staircase Jesus went, as His closest followers denied and abandoned Him upon His arrest.  Then, mocked, spat upon, slapped, and scourged to a bloody pulp, he was paraded through the streets like a criminal and hung to die while His earthly mother looked on in despair.  And for six hours on Calvary, the Son of Man descended to the  very depths of depravity as he took on the sins of the world, leading to the most painful predicament of all--a severing of His relationship with His Father.

The Apostle's Creed asserts that Jesus even descended into hell, alluding to a verse in 1 Peter that may indicate that this took place between His death and resurrection.  While theologians disagree on whether this happened or not, it seems to me that Jesus had already experienced the very worst that hell had to offer when he was plunged into that black agony of separation from the one He'd loved and been loved by for all of eternity past.

This is just a smattering of the descent from glory that Jesus faced when He entered our world as a tiny baby.  We will perhaps only grasp the scope of it when we see Him one day on His throne, radiant in splendor, attended by angels and worshiped by saints from every tribe and tongue.  but there could be no better time to ponder such a thing than on Christmas Day, as we celebrate our Lord's birth.

So as we read the Christmas story and exchange our gifts and share our meals, let us take time to remember what it really cost to redeem fallen humankind.  May we muse on that manger scene through the prism of the panorama in glory, where our King reigns over all, His beauty filling the temple of the heavens and splashing out across our world in whispers of wonder that we are privileged to behold.  And as we do, let us bow and worship in some way befitting to the One who began that descent to secure your salvation and mine, long before this world was formed.  Worthy is the lamb who was slain.


Today is one of celebration, family, sharing and fellowship.  Take some time to give thanks for all of these things as you ponder that staircase.  See Jesus going down it step by step.  Read the following passage slowly and prayerfully, asking the Spirit to give you fresh revelation of what it meant for Jesus to humble Himself and become a man.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)


Now read the rest of the passage, turning it into a prayer of praise and worship for the King of kings and Lord of lords, whose birth we celebrate today.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11).



For a printable version of this devotional, click here



READ: Luke 2:36-38, Matthew 5:6, John 6:35  (Click here to read selections from the NIV)

Her name was Anna and she was the talk of the town. First there was that temple insanity. Day in and day out she’d practically lived there for as long as anyone could remember. Some claimed her pretense of piety had gone on for decades, ever since her husband died leaving her a young widow. Praying and fasting, fasting and praying, ignoring priests and prophets, even well born Pharisees, who wagged their heads at her foolishness.

And now…well it was beyond belief. Just like that, they say she flew out of the temple laughing like a lunatic, cornering anyone crazy enough to listen to her babbling about some baby destined to be the Messiah. What in the world had gotten into her?
I find the story of Anna fascinating– three short verses that resonate with joy and intrigue. Luke tells us little about this woman he calls a prophetess, except that she’d been widowed at a young age and had given herself to temple prayer and fasting ever since. She was most likely well into her 60’s or 70’s at the time of her encounter with the infant Messiah. 

The question that I can’t get away from when I read of this woman’s devotion, is why? What was it that kept Anna coming back day after day, praying… fasting… trusting that what she was doing was not in vain, though it had been centuries since Malachi had uttered the final prophecy about the Christ to come? 

 Perhaps in the beginning it was a way to heal her heart over her husband’s loss, but wouldn't a year or two have been sufficient to assuage her grief? And surely any ill-placed religious zeal or efforts to earn God’s approval with her piety would have faded away long before as well.

The answer might be found in bit of this woman’s heritage. Anna’s father’s name was Phanuel, derived from the altar Jacob built after wrestling all night with an angel. The name meant I have seen God face to face and I have lived (Genesis 32:30). Because names held great significance in the Hebrew culture, family members would have known well the meaning behind that of their patriarch’s. I can just imagine Phanuel holding little Anna on his lap and telling her the story of their forefather Jacob; of how he wrestled with God all night, refusing to let go until he blessed him. Perhaps Phanuel related the tale to the entire family with great dramatic flair, unfolding the details of the interaction with Deity that was so intense it put Jacob’s hip out of joint, causing him to limp for the rest of his life.

I have seen God face to face and I have lived.  The meaning behind her father's name could well have been a seed that was planted in Anna's young heart, captivating her with the idea that God in heaven sometimes peeled back the veil and allowed mere mortals to encounter Him, and be transformed in the process.  Perhaps in her quietest moments as a child, she had pondered that thought and prayed that one day she too could experience a divine visitation.  Then, when she faced the loss of her husband at such a young age, her grief may have become like oil thrown upon the flame of desire, igniting her passion to see God like never before.

But what had caused it to continue burning so brightly those tens of years later, when Mary and Joseph arrived in the Temple that day?  I believe it was because there in the shadow of the holy of holies, Anna had tasted of God's presence, and knew from experience that nothing else would ever satisfy her soul.  Her life became a testimony of a paradox all of Christ's lovers eventually learn, which is that we can both hunger for the Bread of Life and be filled by His tender touch, all at the same time.  This is, in fact, our very destiny--to be both satisfied and yet driven by desire for more of Him, until the day we too see Jesus face to face.

So as we look at this unique moment in the Christmas narrative, let us remember the woman who wouldn't let go, the saint whose hunger for God shaped her entire life.  May her zeal inspire us with fresh faith to believe once again that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  And with each foretaste of glory that He imparts, let us be reminded that our hunger for Him is a promise of a greater fulfillment yet to come.

Jesus used the words hunger and thirst to describe the condition of our souls without Him. Why are these metaphors so powerful? Have you ever considered that when you feel a dissatisfaction with the fact that God doesn't seem as near as you’d like, that this is hunger to drive you to Him even more? That He will both fill you and leave you with hunger at the same time? 

Write a note to God seeking to describe your own hunger level for Him. 


Now write a prayer of affirmation based upon these words of Jesus: He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believe in me will never be thirsty.


As you snack on Christmas goodies and prepare for special meals--shopping, cooking etc.--think about the meaning of food, and what Jesus wants to use it to teach you about His relationship with you.

For a printable version of this devotional, click here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015



READ: Luke 2:22-34, Luke 18:1-8, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 8:24-25.
(Click here to read selections from the NIV)

Though the nation of Israel had endured God’s official silence for 400 years when Christ was born, apparently the Holy Spirit had continued to speak with a few select souls. It makes you wonder how many others God tried to communicate with over the years, but who simply weren’t listening. Simeon is one who was, which is why he showed up in the temple at the very time Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to be consecrated.

The Scripture tells us that Simeon was both righteous before God and devout in the eyes of men. The context implies as well, that he was an elderly man, one who had walked with God for many years. When I read the story of his encounter with Christ, I am struck by the truth that Simeon was a man of faith, the kind of faith that doesn’t give up in the face of seemingly impossible odds, the kind of faith that keeps on believing the reward will come, and thus brings a smile to the face of God.

In fact, Simeon’s life reminds me of my favorite parable on faith, the one about the importunate widow who kept coming back, asking for help until she got it. Jesus begins the parable by telling us its purpose – to keep us from losing heart and giving up. He ends the story with a powerful promise, which is that because God hears the cries of His children, He will make what is wrong, right; and He’ll do so speedily. (Of course that begs the question – what does speedily mean to the everlasting God who dwells outside of time?). Then Jesus asks this poignant question: When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth?

It is a sobering thought that the one thing Jesus will be looking for in His followers when He returns is faith. Faith, as it turns out, is a precious commodity in God’s economy. His Word says there is no other way to please Him, and anything we do in His name that lacks faith is actually sin. Day in and day out, the God of the Universe searches the earth, looking for even the smallest remnant of faith, so that He can reward those who bear it.

Where did Simeon get the kind of faith that kept him looking for the consolation of Israel, even into his old age? Interestingly enough, the name Simeon comes from a root word that means to hear, which is highly appropriate because Simeon was a man who listened for God’s voice and walked intimately with Him. Since faith comes by hearing God speak, it is clear that Simeon had learned to listen long.

It is an amazing thing that God speaks to His children, if we are willing to listen. He speaks first and foremost by revealing His heart through the holy Scriptures. Simeon knew the Word well, and as a result, He understood things even Jesus’ own disciples struggled to accept – that Christ came to save Jews and Gentiles alike, and that the long promised Messiah, would be one who suffered greatly. God also speaks directly to His children through His Spirit – guiding, nurturing, and nudging us with gentle impressions upon our hearts. Clearly Simeon had learned to listen carefully to that still, small voice and as a result, ended up in the right place at the right time for God to fulfill His long awaited promise.

The thing is, we don’t know, really, how many days Simeon had listened and heard nothing or how many nights he lay in bed wondering if God would ever come through. Still, he kept himself in that tender place, ever ready to hear, should the Almighty grant him a word. This, it seems to me, is at the very heart of the kind of faith that makes God smile – ears that are ever tuned to hear His voice. Whether God requires us to cling to His promises for days or weeks or months or years; faith is as simple as communing intimately with Him, waiting patiently and listening expectantly for Him to speak, even if it might seem the silence has gone on far too long.

So in these final moments before Christmas, let us remember a man named Simeon who showed us how to live, by hanging on to God’s promises, listening to His voice and never letting go of the hope of reward. Like a night guard who wouldn’t quit until his shift had ended, he stayed at the ready, and when his watch was over, knew at last that he could depart this world in peace. Let us honor the memory of this great saint by listening ourselves for the gentle whispers of our Lord, so that we too may be granted the gift of persevering faith.

For a printable version of this devotional, click here


So often we see faith as something hard to acquire, or we feel guilty because we struggle with doubt, and at times want to give up. How does Simeon’s story speak to you? Have you seen faith as directly connected to your intimate journey with God? Come before the Lord today, offering yourself afresh, asking Him to speak so that your faith will increase for whatever unfulfilled promises or difficult situations you might face.


Ponder the reality that faith brings God pleasure, so much so that He waits to reward those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Read the following promises and write prayers of thanksgiving to Him in light of them: 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20-21

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20


Make today a day to practice listening to the Lord. In your moments of greatest busyness, plan a timeout where you simply stop, acknowledge God’s presence, ask Him to speak to whatever situation you face at that time, and then listen for Him to speak. You might be surprised at all He has to say!

For a printable version of this devotional, click here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015



READ: Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11, Malachi 2:3-4, Psalm 141:2, revelation 5:8, John 19:38-40  (Click here to read selections from the NIV)

My love language is gifts, which means, according to author Gary Smalley, that while some people need encouraging words or acts of service, and others need quality time or physical touch in order to feel loved, all I need for you to do is give me a present.  (When you add that to the fact that it has to be a surprise, you can see the kind of pressure my poor husband lives under!)  This probably explains why my favorite part of the Christmas story is when the magi from the East brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child, the act which  most likely spawned the centuries old tradition of giving gifts in celebration of His birth.

As it turns out, the fact that they brought gifts might be the only detail we come close to getting right when we include those wise men in our plays or carols or creches.  Even a cursory read of Matthew's account of their journey reveals that they were never at the manger, and had to have arrived much later.   (I think of that every year when I set out my mother of pearl nativity set, and solve the problem by setting them slightly apart just to prove that I am not Biblically illiterate).  There are, however, a few other fallacies about the Magi that seem to have become embedded in the Christmas story.

For example, the Bible never calls the wise men kings, nor does it tell us where they came from, other than the East, or that they arrived on camels.  In fact, nothing indicates that they actually followed a star, although they definitely saw one before they started on their journey, and were filled with great joy when they saw it again as they approached Bethlehem.  Though Scripture mentions three gifts, it doesn't tell us that there were only three Magi--there could have been a dozen of them.  All of this then begs the question, how did we end up with these notions about the wise mens' role in the drama of Christ's birth?

An in-depth Internet search on the subject set my head spinning.  What I discovered is that scholars differ on the source of every one of these things, although many "experts" assert their opinions with a great deal of authority.  After a few frustrating hours of trying to assimilate the plethora of information out there, I threw up my hands and asked for wisdom from above.  When things didn't get any clearer, it occurred to me that perhaps God never intended for us to try to ferret out the intricate details of these men's role in the story...that all along He has left us in the dark for good reason.  Why?  For one thing, because He is a God of wonder and mystery, and loves the way we end up wrestling through His Word.

But beyond that, perhaps the secrecy in this slice of the story is meant to point us to the one thing that is beyond dispute, which is that the Magi from the east brought gifts to the Christ child. What would God want us to glean from this reality? Perhaps it is as simple as getting a glimpse of God’s appreciation for giving, or coming to understand that the inclination to bless others is at the very heart of His character. These alone are awesome truths. But then, what about the actual gifts? Are there some deep spiritual truths inherent in the symbolism of gold, frankincense and myrrh? Well, if you like your packages neatly wrapped (no pun intended); even this might be a bit disappointing. Once again, scholars offer a host of ideas about these things, many of which are fascinating to consider and have some basis in Scripture, but in the end, they are all still, simply ideas. 

So as we wrap our gifts and tie our bows and enter into the joy of giving this week, let us give thanks for the mystery of three men who traveled far from home bearing treasures fit for a King. With each present we offer – to those we love or to strangers in need – let us remember that giving has always been God’s idea, that He does indeed love to give good and perfect gifts to all of His children. And in the rush of final preparations for Christmas, may we each find at least one quiet moment to kneel before our King as the Magi did so long ago, and offer Him that which will bring Him the greatest pleasure, the one thing no one else can give – the love we each have for Him in our hearts.

While Scripture is not definitive on the symbolism of the gifts the Magi brought, it makes a great study, and there are incredible insights to glean. I have included a few references in the Scripture readings for today. Go back and read them again (click here). Spend some time pondering these three things, asking God to speak to you personally about their meaning for your life today. Ask Him these two questions about each of them:
Lord, is there a truth about yourself that You want to captivate my heart with today in regards to this?

Lord, is there something about my own life You want to reveal in regards to this?


Take a few minutes right now to physically kneel before the Lord, imagining what it must have felt like for the Magi when they met the Messiah. What was it like the first time you met Him? Offer Him yourself afresh, and worship the King. 


It’s time to get creative! Consider the three gifts of the Magi and try to come up with a way to tell the Gospel story, using these. You could do so through teaching, or even coming up with a fictional story about the three gifts. Share what you come up with over dinner with your family or some friends.